Universe Today #772 - February 3, 2004
U N I V E R S E
T O D A Y
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NEARBY GALAXY IS HOTBED OF STAR FORMATION
Feb 3, 2004 - The newest photo released from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the nearby dwarf galaxy NGC 1569, which is a hotbed of vigorous star birth activity. These stellar nurseries blow huge bubbles of gas and dust that riddle the structure of the galaxy. NGC 1569 is only 7 million light-years away, so astronomers can study the galaxy in great detail.
<a href="http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/nearby_galaxy_star_formation.html?322004">AOL Link</a>
Feb 3, 2004 - Space enthusiasts have dreamed about a human colony on Mars for many years, but the planet is as inhospitable a place you can find: temperatures can drop below 100-degrees, and the thin carbon dioxide atmosphere is poisonous. One solution to make the climate more Earthlike would be to pump perfluorocarbons (super greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere to start warming up the planet. In theory, once a greenhouse effect started, carbon dioxide would be released from the planet's surface to contribute the warming process.
<a href="http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/terraforming_mars.html?322004">AOL Link</a>
ROSETTA LAUNCH DATE APPROACHING
Feb 3, 2004 - At the end of February 2004, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is expected to launch on board an Ariane 5 launcher from the space centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Rosetta will travel 675 million kilometres, including multiple planet flybys to reach Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014 - it will orbit the comet and then actually land on its surface. This journey will be a long time coming, since Rosetta has been in development since 1997, and missed several launch opportunities.
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TWIN ROVERS EXAMINING AT THE SAME TIME
Feb 3, 2004 - Both of NASA's twin rovers are now ready to perform a scientific study of Mars with the suite of tools at the end of their robotic arms. Opportunity extended its arm for the first time today, while Spirit has been locked with its arm stretched out for the last few weeks. Controllers will have Opportunity examine a patch of soil right in front with its microscope and Moessbauer Spectrometer, and then it will turn the arm and look at another patch with its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. This should tell scientists back at Earth what minerals are in the soil.
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SPIRIT IS FULLY RECOVERED
Feb 3, 2004 - After 10 days of recovery work, engineers at NASA have given Spirit a clean bill of health; the rover is now booting up normally. The recovery happened after controllers deleted thousands of files loaded up in the rover's memory; most of which was stored up from the seven-month flight from the Earth to Mars. The engineers are still planning to completely wipe the memory to start with a clean slate, and then reinstall all the software. Spirit will continue examining a rock called Adirondack later this week with its suite of scientific tools.
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